In the kindie music world, Kira Willey breaks through with her unique, two-in-one albums that blend upbeat, danceable music with get-up-and-move yoga inspiration. This innovative singer-songwriter from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has just released her third album, How to be a Cloud: Yoga Songs for Kids Vol. 3. The collection of 13 joyful folk/pop originals, packaged in an eco-friendly digipak, also features 9 Bonus Yoga Tracks with Kira’s instructional voiceovers, and a lyric booklet that guides parents and teachers with illustrations of Kira’s kid-friendly yoga routines. Produced by Zak Rizvi, this album—like Kira’s earlier award-winning releases Dance for the Sun and Kings & Queens of the Forest—keeps children captivated with its playful melodies and positive lyrics.
Willey is a nationally acclaimed kindie artist and children’s yoga expert, and the creator of Fireflies Musical Yoga for Kids. Her first two CDs have won Parents' Choice and Independent Music Awards, among others. Her songs include the hits “Colors” (featured in a worldwide Dell advertising campaign in 2008) and “Roller Coaster,” which won the Independent Music Award for Best Children’s Song; both get regular play on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live began airing a series of Kira’s “Backseat Yoga Breaks” earlier this fall, and she’s also the host of a new yoga-for-kids series of interstitial programs airing now on selected PBS TV affiliates. In September, Willey led sessions with hundreds of teachers at the National Kids Yoga Conference in Washington DC.
Sweet vocals, catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics are the hallmarks of Willey’s style. The album opens with an invitation to celebrate the moment with “My Favorite Day.” “Gotta Lotta Happy” and other songs invite heart-opening gratitude for the joy of life, and the title track and others offer a path toward quiet and relaxation. A remix of “Colors” features new rhythms and the rousing voices of 75 kindergarten children recorded at a recent live performance at Donegan Elementary School in Bethlehem, PA.
Kira’s pure, sweet, and soothing voice resonates with kids. Parents of special-needs children say they find their kids captivated by her songs, and preschool teachers, occupational therapists, and other youth workers regularly use Kira’s songs in their work. Her fun and easy-to-follow yoga instructions teach self-awareness, improve balance and strength, and build confidence.
On How To Be a Cloud, melody, lyrics and activity blend seamlessly together. Willey’s bright and easy instructions on the Bonus Yoga Tracks are simply suggestions--children, parents and teachers may explore other movements to go along with each song, as Willey remarks in the liner notes. At a time when schools are dropping both music and physical fitness from the curriculum, songs like these can provided much-needed moments of movement and tranquility during the busy day.
“Kids need to move their bodies, it’s how they learn best,” notes Kira, who is also the mother of three children. “And music is a great way to get them moving. Tell a child to do something, and you may encounter resistance--but start singing, or use a catchy melody, and kids are suddenly engaged and having fun!”
Kira Willey performs with her band, gives workshops to teachers and parents, and teaches her innovative musical yoga program at family-friendly venues far and wide. Listen for Kira’s songs and “Backseat Yoga Breaks” on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s Kids Place Live (Channel 78), and watch her musical yoga-for-kids interstitial series on selected PBS TV affiliates!